PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) — Starting Friday new state guidelines will allow indoor full-contact sports for kids and adults in Oregon.
This year during the pandemic, school sports seasons have been switched around so some that would’ve already finished will just be starting their seasons.
“There’s been a lot of changes and a lot of you know adjustments and things,” Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) Executive Director, Peter Weber said. “I think again our board has really been focused on participation opportunities for kids.”
Weber says athletic seasons have been switched around and shortened to adapt to COVID-19 guidelines.
He says falls sports cross country, soccer, volleyball and football started in February and wrapped up a few weeks ago.
Softball, baseball, track and field, golf and tennis are currently competing and those seasons Weber says finish in May.
Weber says basketball, wrestling and swimming will start in May and wrap up in June.
He says there’s excitement for contact indoor sports basketball and wrestling to get the green light.
But he says there’s still a lot of questions and he’s waiting for more specific instructions from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on capacity.
“In the outdoor sports for right now you kind of have your capacity limit for example for on the softball field the players and coaches and umpires and things like that and then a separate limit for any spectators that you might have,” Weber said. “Indoor it’s been one number for when we did volleyball for example in season 2 it’s been one number that includes everybody and no distinction between those on the court and those in the stands.”
Weber says OSAA is looking for clarification on that and how these guidelines will operate under different county risk levels.
Despite higher COVID-19 case counts in Oregon, OHA said the state and governor recognize the important of athletics for the physical and mental health of Oregon’s youth athletes.
“It’s good physically for them it’s good mentally and emotionally for them,” Weber said. “We’re hearing stories about people’s grades getting better, people attending class whether it’s you know distance learning or what have you at a higher rate.”
FOX 12 reached out to Governor Kate Brown’s office to ask about whether spectators will be allowed at indoor full-contact sporting events.
A spokesperson said capacity depends on county risk level.
For example, in a high risk county it’s at 25 percent capacity or 50 people, whichever is smaller.
According to Brown’s office athletes, coaches, referees and spectators all count towards the maximum occupancy limits.
FOX 12 also asked the governor’s office given the rising COVID case counts in Oregon, why is the state deciding to allow indoor contact sports for youth and adults but not make changes to guidelines for businesses who must continue to limit the number of people inside their doors?
“The update was made in recognition of the importance of athletics for the physical and mental health of Oregon’s youth athletes,” Office of Governor Kate Brown, Deputy Communications Director Charles Boyle said.